Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com act as stooges for Haslams and their lakefront scheme
by Roldo Bartimole
(Plain Press, September 2021) Aren’t you just thrilled that the Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com, as they like to say, will look at St. Louis and Cincinnati to see what WE might do with the lakefront dream offered by Jimmy Haslam, a guy noted for running a company that cheated his truck-driving customers.
The PD and Steve Litt ought to be looking at how a billionaire all of a sudden—despite a tough mayoral race is in progress—jumped his desires over what should be a community priority list of needs, not just wants.
But the PD & Litt will be leading the bandwagon of self-serving chiselers.
Cleveland, unfortunately, is a town overstocked with wealthy foundations, too many do-gooder, precious booster organs—and not enough citizen activists.
Surely, not enough rabble-rousers.
It should be rather easy to find out Cleveland’s most crying needs. Where it’s priorities should and ought to be.
If you Google the city you get a hint pretty quickly. And is ain’t a plinth.
In 2019, more than 114,000 people lived in poverty in Cleveland, including 37,700 children and nearly 12,000 older adults. Cleveland remained dead last among large cities in child poverty, with 46.1 percent of children in the city living in poverty in 2019.
Cleveland’s poverty rate led the largest cities rate with 30.8 percent (2019). More than 6,500 adults in poverty worked “full-time for the full year.”
Litt, the PD’s go-to guy on such stories, has already called it a “visionary plan,” which sounds like an anointment. Editorially, it’s “exciting.” Please!
He has already written:
Dee (wife) and Jimmy Haslam and the administration of Mayor Frank Jackson unveiled their concept in May. It calls for extending the downtown Mall over lakefront rail lines and the Ohio Route 2 Shoreway to create a seamless connection between downtown and Lake Erie.
Another Jetport in the lake, People mover up Euclid Avenue.
There is no questioning of Haslam’s motives in spending his own money to have a study done for this desired project. He has his own plans in the back pocket.
The Cleveland Browns, owned by the Haslams (worth: $3 billion) sits on the lakefront. There has been no recitation of Haslam’s problems with the cheating of customers by the Pilot Flying J owner. Part of his record.
The PD need only go into its files and see a story by John Caniglia about Haslam’s dodge of charges in the case involving $56 million in fraud by top executives of his company. The statute of limitation, the story notes, ran out in the case of bilking of “unsophisticated” trucking companies of owed rebates.
His brother, Bill, was Republican Governor of Tennessee.
I can’t figure any reason why Cleveland would entrust its lakefront development, never mind if it should be on any current priority need, to Haslam. (See Forbes article headlined: FBI says recordings expose Jimmy Haslam’s ‘jacking the discount’ Fraud at Pilot Flying J.) It says, “Jimmy Haslam allegedly knew of the deceptive ‘Jacking the Discount’ scheme.”
The media—and this includes TV news—help set the stage for how the needs of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga are met or not.
We see how easily it has been for billionaire team owners to get their needs attended to by the city and county governments. No problem.
Cleveland Cavalier’s owner Dan Gilbert got what he wanted for the arena, despite the desires of some 20.000 plus signatures that the issue be presented to the voters/taxpayers. Pressure cracked the Greater Cleveland Congregation, which helped collect those signatures. It cracked like a fresh egg. And today, Council President Kevin Kelley, the leaders of the egg-cracking, has the nerve to run for mayor.
Now, Paul Dolan, third member of the Billionaire Sports Beggar Club, wants the city and county to chip in multi-millions of dollars for a $435-million spruce-up of the baseball stadium. You can bet that much of that will be dedicated to revenue-producing revenue, not fan accommodations. In other words, in his pocket.
Dee and Jimmy will be next in line. But AFTER the lakefront scheme, which you can place your bets will be dedicated to filling the lakefront with revenue producing business and residency. Or maybe long distance, this means a new football stadium – somewhere else.
These billionaires look far ahead.
But that doesn’t mean we have to give them what they want.
We need a people’s priority agenda.
And voters should be watching the candidates and how they speak about our billionaire welfare clients.
ALL CANDIDATES SHOULD BE ASKED WHERE ON THEIR LIST OF PRIORITY NEEDS DOES A PATH TO THE DOWNTOWN WATERFRONT RATE!
Editor’s Note: This article was first published online at: havecoffeewillwrite.com. To read more articles by Roldo Bartimole or to read back issues of his publication Point of View go to: https://havecoffeewillwrite.com.